Norris Christian was born on May 21, 1943 to the late Milan and Suberlia Christian in Pembroke, Kentucky. He was the fourth child (twin) of five children. He was preceded in death by his wife, Naomi Ruth Christian; two brothers, Dorris E. Christian and Milan Christian; two sisters, Helen Bonner and Myra Jones; and one sister-in-law, Lydia Christian. Also, he was preceded in death by one grandson, Michael Anthony. Christian, aka "Mikey" and one great-grandson, Malachi Alijah Christian.
At the age of 14, he joined the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Pembroke, KY where he gave his life to Christ. He graduated from the Attucks High School in Hopkinsville, KY in 1961. From there, he went on to Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1965. After graduating from KY State University, Norris relocated to Louisville, KY. Norris later joined Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville, KY in 1975. He was a faithful member and used his talents by serving as the Chairman of the Budget and Planning Committee, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Church Council, member of the Board Trustees, Youth Department Sunday School Teacher for 20 years, adult Sunday School Teacher for six years and Administrative Advisor to the Pastor. He served in the various capacities under the administration of five different pastors of Antioch. Norris leadership on the Budget and Planning Committee was instrumental in Antioch purchasing the land at 3315 Dixie Highway, constructing the building at the location in 2002 and the early liquidation of the mortgage in 20??.
He was employed with the Jefferson County Public School System where he taught general
mathematics for three years at Jackson Junior High School, currently Meyzeek Middle School. He was later employed with Travelers Insurance as a Claim Representative for five years. In 1974, he started a career with the Commonwealth of Kentucky working with small and minority businesses. He was hired as a Business Development Officer by the KY Commerce Cabinet to work in the newlv created Office of Minority Business Enterprise, Louisville location. He was then promoted to Education and Training Coordinator in 1976. He was later promoted in 1978 to the Assistant Director in charge of the Louisville location. In 1981 when the Commerce Cabinet lost its grant with the federal government, which funded the office, he was transferred to the Frankfort office and put in charge of the newly created Office of Small Business where he worked for I8 years with small and minority business clients. In 1999, he was appointed by Governor Paul Patton as the Director of the Division of Small and Minority Business within the Cabinet for Economic Development. The Division was responsible fordeveloping the Entrepreneur Resource Navigator (ERN) website, a resource database to assist clients in the preparation of planning to start or expand a business. He retired from state government on July 31, 2003, after 28 years of faithful and dedicated service.
He was a professional businessman who loved to work with numbers. In the early 1980's, He started the Christian & Taylor Tax Service with his late friend Floyd Taylor to provide part-time tax preparation and tax planning to clients. He continued providing tax services under Christian Tax Service after an illness prevented his partner Floyd Taylor to continue to be a part of the business. Norris was the recipient of the Ferda Porter Advocacy Award presented by the Kentuckiana Minority Supplier Development Council. He was a member of the Epicurean Club. His strong desire to share knowledge learned during his lengthy career in state government with other potential small business owners came to fruition in his book titled "Starting and Managing Your Small Business Based on the Scriptures and Godly Assistance". His book was published in 2018 and a book signing was held in
October of 2019 at Antioch Baptist Church.
He was an avid fan and seasoned ticket holder of the University of Louisville men's football and basketball as well as women's basketball. Prior to his illness, he and Naomi periodically travelled out of town to U of L football and basketball games to cheer on the CARDS. He always stayed at the U of L games or watched the games on television to the very end, regardless of the score!
Norris enjoyed taking pictures to capture memories of family gatherings, vacations, class reunions, church activities, and other special events. He also enjoyed putting pictures in scrapbooks to preserve the events and even share with family members. He was affectionally called "Granddaddy" by his grandchildren and great grandchildren, whom he loved dearly and who loved him as well. His youngest great grandson, Brayden, loved to sit on his granddad's lap when he sat in the recliner and he could be seen helping his granddaddy push his walker around the house. Norris met his late wife, Naomi, in 1992 through a mutual friend and they were later united in Holy Matrimony on August 26, 1995. Together, they have three adult children, Christina, Anthony and Ralph. Prior to retiring from their respective employments, Naomi and Norris agreed to spend their leisure time traveling, after which, cruises became their favorite arrangement of traveling. They have traveled extensively and have taken over 25 cruises; at least two of the cruises were enjoyed with their entire family.
He leaves to cherish her memories: one daughter, Christina Stoner (Charlotte, NC); two sons, Anthony Christian (Regina) (Louisville, KY) and Ralph Anthony Diaz, IlI, (DeGloria) (Newburgh, NY); and one sister-in-law, Helen Delores Christian (West Palm Beach, FL). He also leaves to cherish her memories: five grandchildren, Marcus Stoner (Atlanta, GA), Darius Stoner (Burlington, NC), Chelsey Christian and Brandon Christian both of Louisville, KY, and: Ralph Diaz, IV (Newburgh, NY); five great-grandchildren, Christopher, Cayleigh Rae, Micah Anthony, Mario Armani, and Brayden all of Louisville, KY; five nieces, Cheryl Gardner (TX), Joyce Harris (Roy) (Fayetteville, NC), Diane Jones (CA), Myra Jones (Fayetteville, NC), and Jackie Poole (Hopkinsville, KY); seven nephews, Dorris Christian, Ir. (Loretha), Darwin Christian (Kelly), and Darrel Christian (La Tasha) all of Chicago, IL, Roy Jones (CA), Michael Jones, and Robert Jones (FL); former wife, Tura Jones (Melvin) (Louisville); and a host of relatives and friends.
Per Norris's request, in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Building Fund.